While OJ Simpson hasn’t been in the news much recently, there was a time when his name dominated every headline. The former NFL player and once-suspected murderer of ex-wife Nicole Brown – for whose death he was acquitted – has not been idle in his years since being the biggest news in the country. Simpson was arrested again in 2008 for actions in Las Vegas, and after spending 9 years in prison, went right back to Vegas. Now, Simpson has just settled a defamation lawsuit with Vegas locale The Cosmopolitan, in what appears to be just the newest in his long line of questionable public behavior in the desert city.
OJ’s Defamation Lawsuit
The lawsuit against the Cosmopolitan amounts to a “he said/they said” situation. Simpson alleged in the lawsuit that employees of the Cosmopolitan defamed him by telling a celebrity news site – TMZ – that he was being drunk and disruptive on their property back in 2017.
Simpson, who had just been released from prison a few months prior, acknowledged in the suit that he had been asked to leave the property that night. However, the former NFL player claims that he was never given a reason and that information given to TMZ about his behavior was defamatory, claiming he was “belligerent” and “drunk.” On parole, Simpson cannot afford the bad public image and claimed it was defaming his character to spread such information.
Per MarketWatch, “Attorneys for the corporation had argued the former football star could not be defamed because his reputation was already tarnished by his criminal and civil trials in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend in Los Angeles decades ago and his conviction and imprisonment in Nevada in a 2007 armed robbery case.” In essence, representatives for the Cosmopolitan were arguing that his reputation was already so bad and so public that nothing they said could possibly make it worse.
Details of the settlement have not been shared, but both parties agreed to cover their own legal fees.
A 2008 Arrest Sent OJ to Prison
Although you may ask 10 people and receive 9 answers that they believe Simpson is guilty of the murder of his ex-wife, he was acquitted of her murder. The 73 year old was, however, convicted in 2008 of a different crime. MarketWatch explains, “Simpson went to prison after being convicted in Las Vegas in October 2008 of leading five men, including two with guns, in an ill-fated confrontation with two collectibles dealers and a go-between in a cramped room at an off-Strip casino-hotel.
Simpson always maintained he was trying to retrieve personal mementoes stolen from him following his 1995 acquittal in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.
He said family photos and other items disappeared before he was found liable in civil court in February 1997 and ordered to pay $33.5 million to the Brown and Goldman estates.”
Simpson had just been released in July when he had his run-in at the Cosmopolitan later that year. Still under parole, Simpson was adamant that his public image not put his freedom at risk.
Simpson’s Presence in Vegas is Controversial
Simpson’s tiff with The Cosmopolitan isn’t his only controversial behavior in Vegas. Often spotted dining at Grape Street or JING, Simpson garners all kinds of attention, both positive and negative.
As recently as July of 2020, Simpson celebrated his birthday in Vegas by having a mostly maskless bash at JING during the height of the pandemic. Shortly after his birthday celebration, several COVID-positive employees forced the bar to close and promise to offer COVID safety training to staff. Despite that nightmare of a PR debacle, Simpson continues to frequent JING and his controversial selfies with customers has some locals rolling their eyes.
Back in 2017, around the time he had his run-in with the Cosmopolitan, Simpson was photographed flirting with women and drinking at Grape Street. While 70-year-old men are known to flirt, Simpson’s public dating displays often draw ire because of his connection to the death of ex-wife Brown.
Whatever locals feel about Simpson, it’s clear he’s become a fixture for the foreseeable future. Whether you find his carefree behavior and selfie posing endearing and rebellious or offensive and bad taste, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be stopping any time soon.